The March Garden
We had a mild winter this year we have some wonderful vegetables that are available for sale, including kale, Swiss chard, turnips, collards, broccoli, and cauliflower. Unfortunately our heirloom tomatoes didn’t make it. The most likely culprit was nematodes, a major problem for southern gardeners. Without freezing soil temperatures to keep them in check the nematodes population remain healthy and once introduced into an area there is little that can be done. What are nematodes? Nematodes are microscopic worms that feed on plant roots. They are invisible to the naked eye so you won’t know you have them until your plants begin to collapse.
Many modern tomato hybrids have been bred to resist problems such as nematodes, and the addition of certain letters (VFNT) at the end the variety name connotes what resistance the plant has. The N is significant in this case because it stand s for nematodes. Don’t confuse hybrids and GMOs. Hybrids are produced the old fashioned way, not in a lab.
So what can you do if you suspect your soil contains nematodes? Not much. The best thing you can do is switch to raised bed or container gardening, using fresh, virgin soil. You best bet is to purchase soil in bags at a local garden center. If you compost, don’t add dead plants from the garden to the compost pile, especially root material or anything with soil clinging to it.
The Edible Garden
A border of red leaf lettuce, marigolds, oregano, and scented geraniums.